Joining an expanding list of destinations in the Caribbean that are easing entry requirements for vaccinated American tourists, the Cayman Islands have now lifted its strict post-arrival testing regime. The measure, which was seen a major travel barrier, meant all arrivals were required to get tested prior to departure, and then again on days 2, 5, and 7 of their vacation.
A British Overseas Territory, the Cayman Islands comprise 3 islands in the Western Caribbean. The largest of them, Grand Cayman, is a well-known sunny break among Americans. With beach resorts straddling its coastline, countless scuba diving and snorkeling hotspots, and simplified Covid entry restrictions, it could finally see tourists coming back in droves.
Traveling To The Cayman Islands Just Got A Lot Easier For The Vaccinated
As a result of coronavirus cases falling consistently in the last few weeks, which indicate the Omicron wave might have peaked in the islands, the Caymanian government decided on finally scrapping on-island testing for the vaccinated. Before February 18, all those arriving in the Cayman Islands were required to present a negative antigen or PCR test, besides taking further antigen tests on days 2, 5, and 7 of their stay.
Now, the latter is no longer necessary. While pre-departure testing is still required, the need for additional testing has been removed for “securely verified travelers“. In other words, those who have been vaccinated against Covid and are able to prove their vaccination status to border authorities when arriving in the Cayman Islands can expect to bypass the on-island testing mandate.
On top of that, vaccinated tourists who arrive directly in Cayman territory via a Grand Cayman entry point also no longer need to undergo testing when visiting Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, the two other islands in the territory. The updated guidelines brings the Cayman Islands in line with 3 other trendy Caribbean destinations that have started removing restrictions for international travelers.
In summary, visitors will now need to present the following at any entry point:
- An official ‘Certificate to Travel‘, which can be obtained via the Travel Cayman portal;
- A vaccination card proving they are immunized with a WHO-approved vaccine;
- A negative rapid test or PCR taken no earlier than one day prior to departure;
- Purchase travel insurance that covers Covid infection and treatment while abroad.
From February 28, travelers have the option to take a molecular test, such as an RT-PCR, or a certified rapid antigen test the day before departure to Cayman. Video proctored at-home testing is available for inbound travelers via AZOVA. Once on-island, travelers no longer need to undergo lateral flow testing (LFT) on days 2,5 and 7. When unable to reach the Cayman Islands directly, passengers on connecting flights must certify that their layover does not exceed twelve hours.
At this time, unvaccinated visitors are not allowed to travel to the Cayman Islands, unless they have “close ties” to the island, such as family residing there. In that case, they will be expected to isolate for a full week once arriving. For more information on quarantine requirements in the Cayman Islands, unvaccinated Americans allowed to visit must refer to this page.
Additionally, those arriving from countries and territories with vaccination rates lower than 60% for the first dose are also required to quarantine for 7 days, irrespective of vaccination status. Countries such as the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom all have vaccination rates higher than 60%, meaning citizens of these countries who arrive directly from them are not affected.
Easing Of Travel Rules Brings The Cayman Islands In Line With Official WHO Recommendation
As the Caribbean as a whole sees off Omicron, national governments have turned their efforts to promote their countries as safe, easy-to-reach, and bureaucracy-free destinations. Even though PCR testing and vaccination proof are still mandatory for Americans traveling to the Cayman Islands, the easing of the post-arrival testing regime is surely a positive sign, and an indication that the popular Caribbean getaway may be following WHO advice.
Recently, WHO (The World Health Organization) urged countries to relax travel rules, especially those concerning testing requirements that place a “financial burden” on travelers. Even though the Cayman Islands’ decision to simplify measures at the border stems from a more favorable epidemiological scenario, it is still aligning itself with WHO recommendation, one way or another.
Ever since the pandemic first started, the Caymanian administration has not hesitated to impose harsh curbs on social life to protect its 66,000+ residents, including curfews that have made it more challenging for the local tourism sector to recover. Most of these restrictions are now gone, with visitors being able to have a near-normal experience when visiting.
On the other hand, a ban on cruise ships docking in the island remains in pace, as well as limits on social gathering. This limit has increased to 500 persons indoors and 1,000 persons outdoors, meaning large scale events can return. International flights have also resumed and most categories of foreign travelers can now visit the Cayman Islands, including Americans and Canadians, as long as they meet the requirements set out at the border.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com